Radiocarbon and fossil vertebrate ages of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments imply rapid rates of evaporite deposition in the northern Tularosa Basin, south central New Mexico
D. W. Love, B. D. Allen, G. S. Morgan, and R. G. Myers
Rates of accumulation from four distinct depositional environments in the northern Tularosa Basin are estimated using radiocarbon ages from various depths and some simplistic assumptions. Deposition of gypsum, other evaporites, and siliciclastic dust builds marshes, elevated pond and stream margins, and conical spring mounds. Two radiocarbon ages in young Holocene alluvium along Salt Creek show differing amounts of accumulation during the past few hundred years depending on evaporite deposition. Three samples determine the age and rapid accumulation (180–330 cm/103yr) of an extensive gypsum wetland along Salt Creek during the Younger Dryas climatic event 11–12 ka. Burned grass at the buried edge of the Carrizozo Malpais lava flow provides the first estimate of the radiocarbon age of the lava flow and may be used to estimate accumulation rates of several gypsiferous features in the vicinity. Two radiocarbon ages show that the large gypsum spring mounds at the Mound Springs complex grew to heights of 5 m or more in one or more episodes during the past 3,000 years. Stream and fan alluvium without evaporite preservation appears to accumulate on the order of 16–33 cm per thousand years whereas evaporite accumulation in different depositional environments ranges from 33 to 330 cm per thousand years.
- Love, D. W.; Allen, B. D.; Morgan, G. S.; Myers, R. G., 2014, Radiocarbon and fossil vertebrate ages of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments imply rapid rates of evaporite deposition in the northern Tularosa Basin, south central New Mexico, in: Geology of the Sacramento Mountains region, Rawling, Geoffrey; McLemore, Virginia T.; Timmons, Stacy; Dunbar, Nelia, New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 65th Field Conference, pp. 135-142.